October is Employee Ownership Month (EOM)

The ESOP Association website describes Employee Ownership Month (EOM):

Accounting for the Costs of ESOPs Sponsored by Government Contractors

The Cost Accounting Standards Board (CASB) is a function located within The Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) in the Office of Management and Budget:

U.S. Sugar ESOP Issues

In a complaint filed on January 31, 2008 and amended on May 2, 2008, three former U.S. Sugar Corp. employees and ESOP participants allege that their ESOP accounts were cashed out at prices lower than they should have been. The Complaint was recently discussed in major news publications and has become a major topic of discussion in the ESOP community.

UPDATE 11/22/2008: New Offer to Purchase U.S. Sugar

UPDATE 8/6/2008: Detailed Look at Florida's Purchase of 187,000 Acres of U.S. Sugar Land provides a detailed look at Florida's Purchase of the 187,000 Acres of Land Owned by U.S. Sugar Corp., including a review of the outstanding U.S. Sugar ESOP litigation.

UPDATE 7/2/2008: More US Sugar ESOP

UPDATE 6/25/2008: U.S. Sugar ESOP Update: Florida Purchasing U.S. Sugar Land discusses how Florida is purchasing land from U.S. Sugar Corp. and leasing it back for the next six years before turning over the land for conservation purposes, effectively shutting down the company.

Anaylsis

For purposes of our U.S. Sugar ESOP analysis, we will split the issues into ESOP perception issues and legal issues.

ESOP Perception Issues



Sugar workers say company cheated them on pensions was initially was posted Tuesday, May 27, 2008 on the International Herald Tribune, the global edition of the New York Times. On Wednesday the New York Times website posted an online article titled Sugar Workers, Given Shares Instead of Pension, Wonder Why Price Is So Low. Saving the most sensational headline for the print edition,
In Stock Plan, Employees See Stacked Deck appeared on the front page of the Thursday, May 29 edition of the New York Times.

IRC Section 409A Nonqualified Deferred Compensation (NQDC) Plan Regulations

Now’s the Time to Comply With NQDC Regs discusses IRC Section 409A and the related nonqualified deferred compensation (NQDC) plan regulations (see below for links to the regulations):

Bear Stearns, High Concentrations of Employer Stock, Statistics: Company Stock in 401(k) Plans

The Week That Shook Wall Street: Inside the Demise of Bear Stearns discusses the details behind the sale of Bear Stearns to J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. Since it is estimated that about 30% of Bear Stearns were employee owned, the issue of being Too Concentrated in Employer Stock is again being revisited. The Job/Stock Double Whammy discusses how employees that are heavily invested in employer stock are at risk of losing their jobs and their savings. It mentions how owning company stock was a part of their culture, as well as for Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and Merrill Lynch & Co., who reportedly are each more than 25% employee owned. The article also contains comparisons to Enron and Lucent.

Keep Your ESOP On Track and On Time
12 Benefits of Incorporating an ESOP in your Business Exit Strategy

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